Jail guard absentee rates ‘unacceptable’: Premier

Shockingly high absentee rates amongst the province’s jail guards is an unacceptable and problem that must be fixed, Premier Dalton McGuinty says.

“We have a problem. It’s unacceptable,” McGuinty said this morning.

“I’ve asked the minister to take a look at it and find out exactly what it is and what we have to do about it, to fix this.”

Auditor General Jim McCarter found in his annual report released yesterday that jail guards book off sick 32 days a year, on average. The overtime bill to cover those sick days was $20 million, McCarter found.

McCarter’s report also detailed problems with the way the province collects diesel and gas tax, as well as tobacco tax – with an estimated $500 million in taxes on smokes going uncollected each year.

McGuinty said the province has made progress on reducing smoking, but can do little to battle the black market in tobacco, which is centred around native reserves.

“But the biggest challenge of course is activity going on reserves,” the premier said. “Those are properly a federal jurisdiction. We would be pleased to work with them but they have to take the lead on that.”




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